Victoria’s Secret has hired its first transgender model, 22-year-old model and actress Valentina Sampaio, according to Entertainment Tonight. Sampaio will be featured in the new Victoria’s Secret Pink campaign set to be released this month, her agent Erio Zanon confirmed to ET.
“Of course she is very happy for it and she hopes that it shall continue to break barriers and to make a step to more inclusivity and representation for everybody,” Zanon said.
Sampaio previously made history as the first transgender model to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine, ET reports. She graced the cover of the March 2017 issue of Vogue Paris.
Before the news about the Pink campaign was confirmed, the Brazilian model shared a photo and video of herself at a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot – it was history in the making. Several celebrities and fellow Victoria’s Secret models commented on the Instagram posts.
Lais Ribeiro, a Victoria’s Secret Angel, said the news made her “so happy!”
“Wow, finally!” actress Laverne Cox commented.
Victoria’s Secret came under fire last year when the company’s chief marketing officer Ed Razek made derogatory comments about plus-sized and transgender models.
“We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes…No one had any interest in it, still don’t,” Razek said. When he was asked about including transgender models he said, “I don’t think we should…the show is a fantasy.” He later apologized and said they would cast a transgender model.
Razek’s interview unleashed an angry response online, but he remained at the company. In recent years, the brand and its fashion show have received widespread criticism that it is out of touch.
Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik recently revealed the company will not hold its annual fashion show. This news came after the company said it was re-thinking the show, and that it wold no longer air on television.
While Victoria’s Secret has built a $7 billion lingerie empire on the idea that “sex sells,” declining profits and criticism of the TV may mean a revamp is coming.
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